Laird Fighting Out Of Hole Again

Although he started last year's season slow with the Charleston Riverdogs, Brandon Laird picked it up mid-season to earn the title as the organization's leader in home runs. As he starts this season in a similar fashion with the Tampa Yankees, Laird is hoping he will fight his way out of it soon.

"I don't know why, but I mean I'm just a slow starter," Brandon Laird said. "I thought things were going well [before the season]. Things aren't going my way right now, but I think that's going to change pretty soon."

Laird's progress in Spring Training made it seem he would start this year on a high note. He had improved his swing, which was something he struggled with the previous year.

"I actually felt a lot better going into Spring Training than last year. (In) my first year of Spring Training, I had one hit I think. I couldn't find my swing in Spring Training.

"This year in the offseason I worked real hard and entered Spring Training with my swing already feeling good. I hit real well and I thought I was going to be ready for the season, but I didn't so we will see what happens. I don't know."

He lost 20 pounds in the offseason since entering last year's camp weighing in at 230 pounds. A better physical condition could improve Laird's ability at third base.

"This year I took my diet a lot more serious and went to the same workout place and it showed a lot more this year," he said. "I'm quicker laterally.

"I wanted to show that I could play third base, because that's my position. Now I got first base and I'm used to it now. Swapping two positions is going to help me down the road."

While Laird wanted to play the position he was most familiar with, he started at first base this season. He played third base in only 20 games last year in Charleston.

"Going back and forth is kind of new to me. I've got to get use to it again. I'm picking up pretty well. I played [Sunday] and I played pretty good. That's all I can do," Laird said. "When I go to third base, my main concern is just making every play I can.

"Just knock the ball down and that's what I've been trying to do. When I go back to first, that's more of my known position now so I'm used to it now even more than third base. I like it a lot."

As Laird tries to pick up his game faster than last year, he remembers that a new approach mentally helped him turn his game in the right direction.

"I think it was just doing what I was doing at the cage, just keep working," Laird said. "I didn't really make a big change to my stance or my swing. I knew my swing was going to be there.

"I talked to my hitting coach in Charleston; we had a good relationship. He said, ‘Just keep working at it, keep battling and things will start going your way.' I started picking up how pitchers were pitching me and in the second half I just went in with a different attitude and it showed."

While he wants to catch up in his game, there's one thing he doesn't want to change. In fact, Laird is hoping he will duplicate his title last year as the organization's leader in home runs, posting twenty-three.

"I feel like my swing is fine. I'm not really worried about it. Like I said, I'm not making it a big problem," he said. "I'm just going to keep doing my same routine.

"I'm going to work with Julius in the cage every day and I think last year the biggest problem is I just got down on myself."

Laird has kept his same approach from last year, focusing more on going up the middle to right field instead of trying to pull home runs. But, he finds himself wavering between both approaches.

"That's been my approach going up the middle, but lately I've been getting in trouble trying to pull a lot of balls. That's what happened last year," he said. "So I just got to go back trying to hit the ball up the middle to right field.

"Once I go there, I just want to get my swing back. I mean I'm putting good swings on the ball, I'm working hard in the cage every day." He thinks going up the middle can help him improve on a .273 average he posted by the end of last season.

"I think I can be the hitter that hits around .300. Last year, I thought I was going to be hitting around .300. I started slow, but I ended real well.

"But with my new approach I should be that hitter that hits around .300 with a few home runs and RBI that everybody knows that I'm capable of doing. That's what I'm going to try to get out of this year."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I don't know why, but I mean I'm just a slow starter,\" Brandon Laird said. \"I thought things were going well [before the season]. Things aren't going my way right now, but I think that's going to change pretty soon.\"
\r\n
\r\nLaird's progress in Spring Training made it seem he would start this year on a high note. He had improved his swing, which was something he struggled with the previous year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I actually felt a lot better going into Spring Training than last year. (In) my first year of Spring Training, I had one hit I think. I couldn't find my swing in Spring Training.
\r\n
\r\n\"This year in the offseason I worked real hard and entered Spring Training with my swing already feeling good. I hit real well and I thought I was going to be ready for the season, but I didn't so we will see what happens. I don't know.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe lost 20 pounds in the offseason since entering last year's camp weighing in at 230 pounds. A better physical condition could improve Laird's ability at third base.
\r\n
\r\n\"This year I took my diet a lot more serious and went to the same workout place and it showed a lot more this year,\" he said. \"I'm quicker laterally.
\r\n
\r\n\"I wanted to show that I could play third base, because that's my position. Now I got first base and I'm used to it now. Swapping two positions is going to help me down the road.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Laird wanted to play the position he was most familiar with, he started at first base this season. He played third base in only 20 games last year in Charleston.
\r\n
\r\n\"Going back and forth is kind of new to me. I've got to get use to it again. I'm picking up pretty well. I played [Sunday] and I played pretty good. That's all I can do,\" Laird said. \"When I go to third base, my main concern is just making every play I can.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just knock the ball down and that's what I've been trying to do. When I go back to first, that's more of my known position now so I'm used to it now even more than third base. I like it a lot.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs Laird tries to pick up his game faster than last year, he remembers that a new approach mentally helped him turn his game in the right direction.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it was just doing what I was doing at the cage, just keep working,\" Laird said. \"I didn't really make a big change to my stance or my swing. I knew my swing was going to be there.
\r\n
\r\n\"I talked to my hitting coach in Charleston; we had a good relationship. He said, ‘Just keep working at it, keep battling and things will start going your way.' I started picking up how pitchers were pitching me and in the second half I just went in with a different attitude and it showed.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile he wants to catch up in his game, there's one thing he doesn't want to change. In fact, Laird is hoping he will duplicate his title last year as the organization's leader in home runs, posting twenty-three.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like my swing is fine. I'm not really worried about it. Like I said, I'm not making it a big problem,\" he said. \"I'm just going to keep doing my same routine.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm going to work with Julius in the cage every day and I think last year the biggest problem is I just got down on myself.\"
\r\n
\r\nLaird has kept his same approach from last year, focusing more on going up the middle to right field instead of trying to pull home runs. But, he finds himself wavering between both approaches.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's been my approach going up the middle, but lately I've been getting in trouble trying to pull a lot of balls. That's what happened last year,\" he said. \"So I just got to go back trying to hit the ball up the middle to right field.
\r\n
\r\n\"Once I go there, I just want to get my swing back. I mean I'm putting good swings on the ball, I'm working hard in the cage every day.\"\r\nHe thinks going up the middle can help him improve on a .273 average he posted by the end of last season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think I can be the hitter that hits around .300. Last year, I thought I was going to be hitting around .300. I started slow, but I ended real well.
\r\n
\r\n\"But with my new approach I should be that hitter that hits around .300 with a few home runs and RBI that everybody knows that I'm capable of doing. That's what I'm going to try to get out of this year.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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